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Powering A Watermaker On Sailboats Without A Generator

Watermakers are a vital luxury for many boat enthusiasts, but how can you power one on a sailboat? These lighter vessels are not always equipped with generators, and running your motor burns up valuable, limited fuel. Thankfully, there are other ways to power a watermaker and enjoy fresh, clean water anywhere you go. 

Knowing When You Need a Watermaker

Watermakers are useful on any vessel that stays at sea long enough to exhaust its water tanks. Being able to generate your own water as needed lets you use it more often, including taking longer showers on board. If you are tired of ferrying water back and forth at port, and even paying for it by the gallon, a watermaker may make sailing a simpler and safer exercise.

Balancing Bulk and Power

On large yachts or commercial vessels, finding space for a large watermaker and the generator needed to power it isn't all that difficult. For small, lightweight vessels, however, every spare square foot and pound makes a difference. Compact models may actually require more energy to push water through a narrower filter. 
As you shop around for watermakers, consider how many gallons you and your passengers will need per day. This includes drinking water, showers, and even ice cubes for your drinks. Once you have an idea of how many gallons you need to generate, you'll get a general sense of the power requirements and price range of watermakers in that size class. 

Exploring Green Energy Options

Low-output or high-efficiency watermakers can typically be run off of alternative energy sources, though each has its limits. Green energy is a great choice if you are eco-conscious or preparing for a long journey without frequent fuel stops. Unlike generators, alternative energy sources are typically soundless and odorless. 
When you are on the water, you generally have three sources of green energy to choose from. Solar panels are bulky, but all you need is a sunny day to charge your batteries. Wind turbines also harvest an abundant form of energy, but Gulf waters may not see enough wind to make them worthwhile. Wind turbines are dragged behind the boat, generating power with a propeller. 
Ultimately, you may need to explore and experiment with each type of green energy before you find what works best. Each boat and stretch of water is different, meaning no exact solution is ideal for everyone. When in doubt, speak to your neighbors at a local marina to learn how they generate power while at sea. 

Choosing a Manual Watermaker

If your boat is simply too small to power an electric watermaker, you may be better off bringing water onboard whenever you visit a port. Manual watermakers are available, but they are typically not used a main water source. Because they require a fair amount of work every day to supply enough water, they are generally kept in case of emergencies. 

Considering Your Generator Options

If none of these options apply to your sailboat, you may want to look one more time at bringing a generator on board. Generators add to your quality of life at sea in a number of ways, both big and small. Running a small, portable generator a few hours a day will keep your lights on and fresh water flowing without burning up more expensive diesel fuel. 
Whatever your needs and vessel, there is likely a solution to your water needs. Contact us at Reverse Osmosis to seek the guidance of boating and filtration experts on your specific case. Our technicians will go over the size and scope of your vessel to find your ideal watermaker model and enough power to run it.